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AfterSchool of Thought

Welcome to the "AfterSchool of Thought," a blog series for those with products and offerings for afterschool programs and the professionals who work in the field.

First Things First: Know Your Audience

If you were to spend any significant amount of time with me in marketing meetings brainstorming, it's likely you'd eventually hear me blurt out "Audience first!" It's one of my favorite quotes.

Why? Because far too often I see people and companies focus too much on themselves and what matters to them. I also witness well-intentioned staff trailing off into too many directions. And while that's important when brainstorming, at some point someone needs to reel them back in to focus on what matters: your audience.

Here's why it matters:
If you're not thinking of your audience's likes and dislikes, or things that matter to them, then you won't effectively gain their interest. And if you can't effectively market and advertise your business, how will you sell your services or products?

One of the best ways to know your audience better is through demographics. Demographics can be so useful because they provide details about your audience such as: education, location, age, income levels, etc.

If you're wanting to understand your target audience better, here are some tactics to get you started:

  • Ask for your staff's input - especially outside of your own department. Even if your company is not that large, there are still people on the frontlines who are fielding questions and comments both from prospects and customers.

  • Conduct surveys – Survey Monkey is a great tool! Start with a few demographic questions, which will enable you to see general characteristics and reflects trends and commonalities among your audience.

  • Research social networks - If you've ever wanted to read your customers' minds, social media is the closest you will get. This concept is known as social listening and consists of monitoring the various social networks to discover what is being said about your brand, your competitors, and topics relevant to your business.

  • Interview key players - Interviews are considered a qualitative research method, which delves into motivations, thoughts, and even opinions. It is a way to get to know your audience on a more personal level.

Here at the National AfterSchool Association we've seen incredible growth in our membership - over 20,000 members now. And while we're pretty proud of that, we also understand the value in knowing more about them like job roles, education, etc. That's why we recently did extensive analysis and surveys, which resulted in the first-ever State of the Profession report!

As someone who sells advertising in NAA's communication tools, I obviously face questions about our members. That's why I'm pleased to share with you some of the key stats:

  • 60% of our members are in a Director-level role.
  • More than 70% of our members have a Bachelor's Degree or higher.
  • 78% are employed full-time.

To view the report in its entirety, click here.

If you've identified that the afterschool market is a target for you, let's connect! I'd love to explore campaign options that are smart, creative and designed to put your brand on the fast-track in the field of afterschool. For more details now, please download a media kit here.

JillHeadshotWritten by Jill Carroll, Marketing & Media Consultant, with The National AfterSchool Association. "AfterSchool of Thought" is a blog series with tips and advice on marketing to the afterschool community.

Have questions or seek assistance on how you can better promote your offerings to the afterschool market? Contact Jill at jill@serendipity-media.com or 866-252-7108.